Summer break goes by so fast, so before you know it, our children will be back to school, and so will the chaos of backpacks, papers to read and sign, and clutter!
1. Conquer school papers:
Set up an area in your home where your children can leave parent forms and reading materials. You could set up two paper-trays or file folders dedicated to organizing school papers. Remember to check the trays daily to avoid paper clutter accumulation.
2. Avoid random homework areas:
If your children do not have specific areas to complete homework, consider setting up one or more “Homework Stations”. You may need to give up the dining room or kitchen table for a couple of hours each day, or you could try setting up a small desk and lamp in an unused nook in a quiet spot in your home.
3. Create a backpack station:
If the homework area is not a good spot to also store backpacks, set up an organized backpack area for your children. It doesn’t have to be fancy. No need to call in a carpenter to build mud-room cubbies – see what you have on hand to make it work. It may simply require moving a few things around.
4. Organize the sporting equipment:
If you have children that play after-school sports, it’s important to have a go-to spot for their sporting equipment. There’s way too much going on with homework and preparing dinner to be worrying about where their equipment is, so plan the night before so that you’re not scrambling right before soccer practice to find their practice or game gear.
5. Avoid time wasters:
Create templates of consent and absent forms and make copies. Include blank areas to fill in the appropriate names and dates. You may also be able to find pre-printed templates online.
6. Find what you need when you need it:
After “Back to School Night” or “Orientation Day”, set up a school reference binder with all of the papers you have received. Having one organized place to look up information will save time. If you’re paperless, write down essential information in your favorite app.
7. Always be prepared:
As soon as school starts, program all important telephone numbers into your mobile phone, e.g. school, inclement weather, emergency pick-up person, etc. Or record into your daily planner or address book and keep with you at all times.
8. Get organized!:
It’s better to begin teaching your child to plan, prepare and organize from an early age, particularly when they are working on projects and reports. Give them their own calendar to enter due dates, or at the very least, they should have their own personal file folder or binder that they can refer to for information. If this is too difficult for your child, add the information to your own file and/or calendar and follow-up with regular reminders.
Finally, don’t be afraid to set up new systems for back-to-school, especially if last year’s system didn’t work. Just try something new until it clicks!
Get my FREE downloaded Back to School Checklists and forms here, from my website, at CastAway the Clutter!